Venue: Civic Hall, Leeds, LS1 1UR. View directions
Contact: Becky Atherton (0113 37 88642) Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Chairs Opening Comments
The Chair welcomed everyone to the first meeting of the municipal year.
He introduced himself and as a new Chair of the Board he provided a brief background of himself. He invited Members to introduce themselves and also provide a brief background of themselves.
Appeals Against Refusal of Inspection of Documents
To consider any appeals in accordance with Procedure Rule 25* of the Access to Information Procedure Rules (in the event of an Appeal the press and public will be excluded).
(* In accordance with Procedure Rule 25, notice of an appeal must be received in writing by the Head of Governance Services at least 24 hours before the meeting).
There were no appeals against refusal of inspection of documents.
Exempt Information - Possible Exclusion of the Press and Public
1. To highlight reports or appendices which officers have identified as containing exempt information, and where officers consider that the public interest in maintaining the exemption outweighs the public interest in disclosing the information, for the reasons outlined in the report.
2. To consider whether or not to accept the officers recommendation in respect of the above information.
3. If so, to formally pass the following resolution:-
RESOLVED – That the press and public be excluded from the meeting during consideration of the following parts of the agenda designated as containing exempt information on the grounds that it is likely, in view of the nature of the business to be transacted or the nature of the proceedings, that if members of the press and public were present there would be disclosure to them of exempt information, as follows:
No exempt items have been identified.
There were no exempt items.
To identify items which have been admitted to the agenda by the Chair for consideration.
(The special circumstances shall be specified in the minutes.)
There were no late items.
Declaration of Interests
To disclose or draw attention to any interests in accordance with Leeds City Council’s ‘Councillor Code of Conduct’.
No declarations of interests were made at the meeting.
Apologies for Absence and Notification of Substitutes
To receive any apologies for absence and notification of substitutes.
Apologies for absence were received on behalf of Cllrs Akhtar, Tudor and Harland and also Gerard Tinsdale (Chief Officer Housing).
It was noted that Cllr Coupar would be attending from 11:15am.
To approve as a correct record the minutes of the meeting held on 2 March 2023.
RESOLVED – That the minutes of the previous meeting held on 2nd March 2023, be approved as a correct record.
The Principal Scrutiny Adviser informed the Board of the following:
Minute 71: End of Year Statement
The End of Year Statement had now been published on the committee webpage. The Annual Report 2022/23 will also be published on that page following consideration by Council on 12 July.
Minute 72: Work Schedule
The response to the 2022/23 Scrutiny Board’s recommendations regarding reducing gambling harm, was considered by the Executive Board on Wednesday 21st June. The Executive Board was supportive of the recommendations made by the Board.
To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services setting out Terms of Reference for the five Leeds City Council Scrutiny Boards.
The report of the Head of Democratic Services presented the terms of reference for the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities).
Appendices attached to the submitted report included:
· Appendix 1 - General Terms of Reference applicable to all Scrutiny Boards
· Appendix 2 - Article 6 of the constitution, which outlines Scrutiny Board remits and any special responsibilities. It was noted that legal colleagues are in the process of updating this document post Annual Council and there may be further updates to the version in front of members.
· Appendix 3 - The Scrutiny Board alignment with officer Delegated Functions and Executive portfolios 2023/24.
It was noted the main changes for this Scrutiny Board were:
· Cllr Jess Lennox is now the Executive Member for Housing
· Functions including the delivery of locality youth services now fall within the remit of this Board. The remaining aspects of youth services remain with the Children and Families Scrutiny Board.
RESOLVED – That the Board’s terms of reference be noted.
To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services regarding the co-option of external individuals to the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities).
The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report which sought the Board’s consideration for the appointment of co-opted members.
It was noted that the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board has not historically co-opted external individuals. It was proposed that this approach is adopted in 2023/24 unless or until the Scrutiny Board determines cop-option would add material value.
RESOLVED – It was agreed that no external individuals will be co-opted to the Scrutiny Board unless or until members determined co-option would add material value.
To receive a report from the Director of Communities, Housing and Environment that provides an overview of outcomes and service performance relating to the Council and city priorities that fall within the remit of the Scrutiny Board (Environment, Housing & Communities).
The Director of Communities, Housing and Environment submitted a report which provided a summary of performance information relating to the strategic priorities for the council and city and other performance areas relevant to the Environment, Housing and Communities Scrutiny Board.
In attendance for this item were:
· Cllr M Rafique - Executive Member for Climate, Energy, Environment and Green Space
· Cllr Debra Coupar - Executive Member for Resources
· Councillor J Lennox – Executive Member for Housing
· James Rogers - Director of Communities, Housing & Environment
· Lee Hemsworth – Chief Officer Community Hubs, Welfare & Business Support
· Emma Kamillo-Price – Senior Intelligence and Policy Officer
· Paul Money – Chief Officer Safer Stronger Communities
· John Woolmer – Chief Officer Environmental Services
· Mandy Sawyer - Head of Housing & Neighbourhoods
· Ian Strickland - Business Development Manager
· Rob Goor – Head of Property Development
· Kevin Brighton – Development and Improvement Manager
The Business Development Manager presented the report informing the Members that the report included several priority areas identified following consultation with the 2022/23 Scrutiny Board. Following member requests in January 2023 additional information had been provided in relation to rough sleepers and waste management.
In response to questions from Members the following information was provided:
Rent Collection and Arrears
· A due process is followed in relation to rent arrears and officers confirmed that the service does not write off current tenants’ arrears unless there are exceptional debt or legislative circumstances. In terms of former tenants’ arrears, due process is followed, and the service is has a good rate of recovery. It was noted that the report highlights that £800,000 had been recovered during the year ended March 2023 with a write off of £1.09m.
· Insulation is only carried out through the Planned Investment Programme and not as standard during the ‘turn around’ of void properties being prepared for re-let. Insulation would only be added on void properties if extensive work was required.
· Current re-let time for void properties is 116 days, which is down from the 141 days detailed in the report from the end of March 2023. It was noted there were currently 800 void properties within the Council’s housing stock and this number is continuing to reduce. The Board was advised that all areas of the city had targets to reduce void properties and performance is improving.
Annual Tenancy Check-ins
· It was noted that a report on the new Homelessness Strategy is due to go to Executive Board in ... view the full minutes text for item 10.
To receive a report from the Head of Democratic Services on potential sources of work for the Scrutiny Board.
The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report on potential sources of work and areas of priority within the Board’s terms of reference.
The Best City Ambition was appended to the report for information.
The following were in attendance for this item:
Members proposals included:
· Review of the Anti-Graffiti Strategy – It was noted that ‘tagging’ is an increasing issue across the City. Members were advised that further information would be provided as part of the Safer Leeds update, which is due to be brought to the Board in September. The Chief Officer Safer Stronger Communities also offered to have conversations with local ward members where they wished to raise specific concerns.
· Licensing of small events in parks. – To look at how arrangements for events in public parks for more than 100 people could be improved, to ensure greater accountability on the part of organisers. It was suggested that this could be looked at as part of the policy for public open spaces, along with relaxed mowing and tree management. It was noted that the Green Spaces Strategy was due to be brought to the Board in February.
· Members requested consideration of the safety of women and girls, especially in relation to walkways connecting to the city centre and proposed exploring projects such as ‘Ask Angela’. It was noted that there was work currently ongoing on this issue along with the West Yorkshire Mayor’s research programme. The Board were further advised of a survey taking place in relation to the safety of women and girls in the city centre.
· As part of this discussion members further requested that time be allocated within the work programme to explore issues linked to safe access to parks and green spaces, particularly where protected characteristics are a further consideration.
RESOLVED - That the contents of the report and the suggested areas of work, as set out above, be noted.
To consider the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2023/24 municipal year.
The Head of Democratic Services submitted a report which included a draft work programme for the municipal year 2023/24. This collated requests from members of the 2022/23 Board and known items of business such as budget consultation and performance monitoring.
The Executive Board minutes from the meeting on 19 April are also included at Appendix 2 for reference.
The Principal Scrutiny Adviser said the items raised in the meeting would be incorporated into the schedule ahead of the next meeting of the Scrutiny Board.
RESOLVED – To:
a) Consider and discuss the Scrutiny Board’s work schedule for the 2023/24 municipal year.
b) Advise the Principal Scrutiny Adviser of any further requests for Scrutiny.
Date and Time of Next Meeting
The next public meeting of the Scrutiny Board will take place on Thursday 20 July at 10.30am. There will be a pre-meeting for all Board Members at 10.00am.
RESOLVED – To note the next meeting of the Scrutiny Board will take place on 20 July 2023 at 10.30am. There will be a pre-meeting for all board members at 10.00am.
The meeting concluded at 12:30